|Soybean of the Sea|
Soy burgers, soy cheese, soy milk. There are myriad products for us humans when it comes to soy (for better or for worse). But, who ever thought the news of the day would be the soy intake of fish?
As it turns out, aquaculture industries are upping the ante into the world of aquatic factory farming by promoting the use of soy to feed farmed fish. This mirrors the current land-based practice of over-feeding factory farmed animals with genetically modified corn and grain – and now we can have unnaturally stuffed fish to join in the fray!
The reason for introducing soy into fish farms is, as per usual, reduced operating costs, also known as “more bang for your buck.” But also, as per usual, the cost is really on the health of the animals and the citizens who eat them. This latest report comes from Food & Water Watch and shows:
“…how the soy industry, which is dominated by Big Ag giants Monsanto and Cargill, are promoting the use of soy as an environmentally-friendly way to feed factory farmed fish. For them, it could mean millions in profits. But for consumers, it’s like taking our factory farm model of food production and putting it right in the ocean.”
The problem, in part, is that while many citizens have begun lessening dependence on red meats, they haven’t completely dropped the meat habit, and are instead consuming massive quantities of seafood, leaving the seafood industries “no choice” but to become a factory farm to meet consumer needs for cheap fish. “In fact, close to half of the seafood we consume globally comes from these factory fish farms,” wrote Food & Water Watch in the essay “Soy Ain’t Green.”
But the shift to soy is about more than consumer demand. Food & Water Watch reported, ”…you can see why the powerful soy lobby, which is well represented in Washington, D.C., is aggressively promoting the use of soy to feed farmed fish. From 1996 to 2009, the sales of foods containing soy increased from approximately $1 billion to almost $4.5 billion.” Money, honey.
Additionally, the same ethical problems of using a nation’s supply of grain to feed factory farmed animals instead of people resurfaces when soy, which could provide protein for humans, is force fed to fish to make them bigger and more appetizing. But it’s the fish who have no appetite for soy in actuality. Said the report on soy, “Soy is not easily digestible for fish, a problem that can lead to reduced growth rates and inefficient feed use. Fish experience nutrient deficiency when they consume soy.”
So, really, it seems the only justification for soy is subsidies fought for by lobbyists. It certainly isn’t an efficient or healthy feed source.
But humans have already been over-consuming soy for years due to this soy-genda in processed foods and livestock.
“Soy is already ubiquitous in the human diet. It’s in 60 to 70 percent of our processed foods and factory farms feed it to the food animals we eat. In fact, livestock consumes 40 percent of the soy produced in the U.S.
“Fish that eat soy produce excessive amounts of waste. When thousands of fish are sharing close quarters in ocean pens, this creates an environment friendly to bacteria and disease. But using soy in industrial-sized fish farms also puts a serious burden on ecosystems on land, including the communities that live in close proximity to the resources necessary to produce soy. In Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia, the expansion of the soy industry has led to deforestation, soil erosion and displacement of indigenous peoples.
Source: GO MEDIA: Writen by Jessi Stafford - Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, quinet